Like Mike: I wore outfits from The Last Dance for a week

Louise Cheer
News Editor

With the NBA season on hiatus, my only connection to my new-found love is ESPN's The Last Dance, which is being aired on Netflix in Australia. Not only does it give me a chance to talk about basketball, but it also gives me a chance to indulge my other passion: fashion.

Dennis Rodman is a sartorial icon and Michael Jordan's confidence to pull off ‘90s looks many have fallen victim to should inspire others to embrace trends that scare them.

Seeing Jordan's beret and his oversized suits made me realise I only had one choice while in self-isolation, dress like Mike.

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, my week wearing outfits from The Last Dance (Note: I only did five days because it was tough trying to find the matching clothing items during self-isolation).

Day 1: Chi-Town all the way

I couldn’t go past the full Chicago Bulls kit. There was really no other choice. It’s the team Michael Jordan is most synonymous with, so it would be an oversight to ignore the team he won six championship rings with and catapulted into legendary status. Because of my petite build, I was able to get a kids-sized Bulls jersey and shorts for a reasonable price.

Not that anybody needs it, but this photo is similar to the ones I referenced (I know this is from 1989, but we all know he did the same things with the same uniform on in the 90s. The reason why I’m using this image is because his pose is very similar to the one in my photo):

Michael Jordan shoots against the Sacramento Kings during a game played on November 14, 1989. Source: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Not owning a pair of Jordans (and not wanting to spend the funds to acquire some), I had to settle for my Nike Air More Uptempo (What The 90s) sneakers. Coincidentally Michael Jordan’s teammate Scottie Pippen wore the same shoes during the 1990s, obviously in a different colourway. I wore a shirt underneath the jersey because I needed the extra layer as it was cold that day, and I had seen Jordan rock one underneath his training singlets, so I deemed it acceptable. At the last minute, I realised he wore a sweatband on his left arm – in a Bulls colour – and I fashioned one out of black linen leftover from one of my sewing projects.

And this was the end result:

Chris Paul approved: My jersey is tucked in as per on-court regulations. Source: Supplied

Major takeaways: I did a workout after this photo was taken and it was really comfortable to move around in, unsurprisingly. This is going to graduate into my athleisure line-up after serving its purpose for this story. Separately the jersey would look cute tucked into a pair of denim shorts. As you can tell from my stance above, I’m never going to win any championship rings but I felt peak-Jordan in this outfit.

Day 2: Big suit energy

Michael Jordan is 6’ 6”, I barely clear 5’ 2”. So any suit that’s not made for me is going to look ridiculous on my body. And if I tried to emulate the GOAT’s penchant for oversized apparel during the 90s, all my clothes would swallow me whole. So after much deliberation, I settled on a classic Jordan off-court ’fit – a grey striped suit he wore in 1997 while in Sacramento, paired with his signature black beret, a turtleneck and a belt.

In replicating this look, I did what any person in a relationship would do... I raided my partner’s closet. As my husband is comparatively larger in build than I am, everything in his wardrobe is oversized on me and very easily I found a similar grey suit jacket. Unfortunately the pants were going to be a bit of a problem. Even if I borrowed some from my husband, some weird bunching was going to happen if I was going to belt it and that would destroy the seamless illusion I had envisioned. I wanted it to be oversized, but I didn’t want to look like a child playing dress-up in their parent’s clothing.

Michael Jordan arrives against at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, on November 23, 1997. Source: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

My saviour at this time, and throughout this week, was going to be Depop – an online platform that sold pre-loved clothing. With coronavirus restrictions still enforced in NSW, going to op-shops or shopping centres were out of the question for me. After perusing over several days, I finally settled on the perfect pair of grey slacks that would match my chosen jacket and also got a black beret for a steal (just FYI I did wash these pieces of clothing before I wore them for COVID-19 reasons as well as for general hygiene). With my black pointed boots and an old travel bag I had lying around, I was ready to rock this look.

Major takeaways: a suit, any suit always makes me feel like a baller and I’m no longer a size six. I discovered this last revelation as I sat at my work-from-home desk with a constant wedgie for eight hours from my slightly-too-tight pants. Despite this, the outfit was glorious. Also don’t miss the smallest detail in this photo, the single hoop earring I’m wearing in my left ear. Très chic, très Jordan.

Me as 1997 Michael Jordan. Bow down to the beret, it's back. Source: Supplied

Day 3: Dennis Rodman, the underrated fashion icon

It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that I would pick a Dennis Rodman outfit. The man is my fashion muse. He took risks like no one else and it’s not unexpected considering he dated Madonna. As one former Piston John Salley said: “Madonna explained to him, ‘You have to establish who you want to be in this life. Don’t be who they tell you you should be.’ He started realising he could push any boundary and that’s a freedom.”

To encapsulate Rodman’s mantra of being true to himself, I selected this incredible outfit he wore during an interview with another icon, but of TV journalism fame, Barbara Walters.

Dennis Rodman in all his sartorial glory while being interviewed by US journalist Barbara Walters. Source: Netflix

Cards on the table, this outfit is not outside the realm of my comfort zone. I already owned a similar leopard-print jacket to the one he was wearing. At first glance I thought Rodman was wearing a black shirt and a sequined accessory, but on closer inspection, I ascertained it was a black scarf paired with a bedazzled top. Out of all the outfits in The Last Dance, people who know me would just assume I put this one together myself. The only things I needed to source for this outfit were the red baker boy hat (eBay) and the shirt (eventually borrowed something similar, a sequined jumper, from a friend). When I wore the entire ensemble to the shops, two people complimented me on my hat.

Major takeaway: Leopard-print jackets are the bomb and they’re Rodman-approved. What more can I say?

Me contemplating life's great question: WWDRD (What would Dennis Rodman do)? Source: Supplied

Day 4: Chicago Bulls daddy Phil Jackson

This outfit selection is the one I regret the most because, for the lack of a better way to put it, it’s just basic. But I had already borrowed the overalls and collected the items of clothing I needed, so I was committed. Plus I had the perfect bike to recreate the photo. It’s just not as outrageous or loud as the other garments I selected. The most exciting bit was that I got to wear glasses. But this is the inspiration photo of “like a hippie” Phil Jackson:

Phil Jackson, the coach of the Chicago Bulls, was described as "like a hippie". Source: Netflix

And below is my take on Jackson’s outfit (too bad I couldn’t grow a beard).

Major takeaways: Distressed denim on a cold day is my enemy. I spent most of my time at my desk with my legs pressed up against our heater (fashion is pain, darling). I didn’t stand out or feel self-conscious, which is good for some, but I’m an exhibitionist. At least I got a cute photo with my very Instagram-worthy bike.

Meh! The most striking thing in this photo is my bike. Source: Supplied

Day 5: The one where Rodman channels a ‘90s boy band member

By far, this last ensemble made me the most self-conscious and paranoid about people’s judgement. Everything about this outfit screamed, “Look at me”, the backwards cap, The Matrix-esque leather jacket, the see-through shirt and the puka shell necklace. But it was the one I was most looking forward to wearing because nothing was more ’90s than this.

Dennis Rodman could have been in NSYNC. Source: Netflix

Again because of coronavirus restrictions, I couldn’t go looking for replicas of these items. But what I ended up with was pretty good, I thought. I had a leather jacket but it was a dark brown instead of what looks like black in the photo above, the see-through shirt I had was a sparkling burnt orange – but it had to do – and I couldn’t really justify buying a pair of sunglasses that I definitely would never wear again. My gold chain would also have to sub in for his chunky silver one. Unfortunately I couldn’t recreate the mob of reporters because of social-distancing rules, so this is my alternative to the NBA tunnel walk.

My application for a Backstreet Boys tribute band. Source: Supplied

Major takeaway: No one in NBA took more fashion risks than Rodman, from his coloured hair to his gender-bending outfits. He was secure enough in his masculinity and his identity to reject the rules of fashion and delivered looks we will never forget. I stan. Don’t @ me.

Overall I enjoyed my five days of wearing fashion from The Last Dance. What I’ll definitely be wearing more of is berets (with everything), leather jackets (the one I wore had never been broken out until now) and I’m even contemplating more oversized suits (the draping is unrivalled). What I’ll probably never don again is the backwards cap (I cringe) and the button-up over a shirt combo (just not hot).

I hope this has got you thinking about fashion trends you want to try (or don’t ever want to try). And what always helps me when I’m unsure about my outfit, I think about the fighting words a pep-talking Anna muttered to a nervous Seth in The OC: “Confidence, Cohen.”

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